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Phonetizer

I have been away from this blog for a little while now while I get to grips with the additional workload of a Masters degree on top of 25 hours of teaching a week.  Still haven’t come up with a new name for the blog yet but hope that will get rolled out in the coming week as well… not that much of this is concern to any of you fine people reading this.  Just thought I’d get my ‘housekeeping’ out of the way first. 🙂

I’ll be publishing a more substantial post soon on a short exam preparation exercise but in the meantime I just wanted to draw people’s attention to this website.

Phonetizer

Quite simply this is Google Translate for phonetics.  Just type (or copy and paste) text into the left box, click transcribe at the top and the English IPA translation will appear on the right-hand side.  Without a doubt, a very useful tool!

If you are following Nik Peachey (and you really should be) then you have probably already seen this website recommended on his blog, Nik’s Quickshout.  I just thought that I would pass along the knowledge to a few more people who might not yet be following him.

P.S.  I was at the English UK conference a couple of weekends ago, in which Nik, Luke Meddings, Sam McCarter and many others were presenting.  The closing plenary was by Professor Mike McCarthy and focused on building on corpus linguistic data to help teachers and assessors understand more about what various English levels actually mean.  His talk was insightful and thought-provoking as he started to map the findings onto the CEFR.  It motivated me to write up this small question to learners on my learners’ blog, “Are you ready for intermediate level English?”  Follow the link and have a read through.  There might be a few useful questions to pose to your own students this week.

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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Conferences, Recommendations

 

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The New Blog Carnival has been Published!

If you aren’t familiar with a blog carnival then you are in for a treat.  It is a list of blog posts from various people all based around a common topic.

The 25th, yes 25th, ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival has just been published on Berni Wall’s excellent blog.  There is almost too much great content – certainly enough for several days of reading, consideration and commenting (hint, hint – always try to comment on blogs).

The common theme for this edition of the blog carnival was popular posts.  So basically these are the posts from people’s blogs that have already grabbed a lot of attention.

If you are just starting in the blogosphere then the Blog Carnival is the best way to quickly find some great quality bloggers to follow, learn from and share with.  Thanks for hosting, Berni!

Enjoy!

http://rliberni.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/25th-edition-of-efleslell-blog-carnival-here-from-nov-1st/

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Recommendations

 

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Questions for a potential employer and why you should ask them, pt 2 (The ‘Social’ Questions)

Moving to another country is a big decision, even if it is only for a six-month or one-year contract.  We hear about culture shock all the time and in my experience it always hits you when and where you don’t expect it.  The first time I worked abroad was in Mexico but I was so mentally prepared to be lost at sea and confused by everything and anything that it never really happened (I also must credit a great group of teachers I worked with who became dear, dear friends).

No, I got the culture shock when I returned to Britain.  I thought I’d be able to fit back in and suddenly I saw a lot of aspects of the culture that I didn’t like and that depressed me for a little while.  I overcame that, adjusted and had a great couple of years down in Portsmouth on the south coast.

And then I moved again and it was with the job I just finished that I really had problems and this is what prompted this post.  I feel I was unprepared both intellectually and emotionally for this job and I’ll explain why with this list of questions I should have asked with answers I should have based my decision on.

It’s difficult to know what to ask but here are a few suggestions and, as I said in my previous post (Part 1: The ‘Professional’ Questions) my best advice is to get solid answers.  You aren’t stupid if you don’t understand the answers you get and don’t expect them to be any clearer when you arrive.  If your potential employer can’t explain something clearly on the phone, Skype or an email, then you’re unlikely to get a better explanation in person.  Also, if the answer really is that complicated then it probably isn’t the answer you are looking for.

Anyway, following on from the ‘professional’ questions

Part 2: The ‘Social’ Questions

8.  What is there to do where I will be living?

You’ve got to make sure you get specifics here and if the answers are not particularly forthcoming or seem a little bit thin, trust your instincts and your gut and realize that you are probably looking at a job which is in a really boring part of the world.

This is a difficult one to write about because sometimes there doesn’t need to be much happening in a town for it to be a great place to work and live, but things like cinemas, bars, restaurants, etc. all make things easier (at least they do for me).  Sure, everywhere has got bars and restaurants, but would your employer recommend them?  Does your employer have a favourite one?  If not, then you can’t know if these places will be fun or even safe.  (Obviously in Islamic countries this situation is a little different and I should make clear that I’m not writing with any experience of that area of the world.)

9.  What do people do and where do they do it?

This is a very specific question and perhaps similar to my previous question but there are some differences and they are important.  When you ask the first question, “What is there to do where I will be living?” the person you are asking is thinking about what you, the foreigner, can do.  If you follow up with this question, you are forcing an answer which talks more about the natives of that town/city.

If you are told about some big event they have every year, that’s great… but what do people do for the other, 3 seasons, 11 months or even 364 days a year?  If you are told about all these great places that people travel to at the weekend then you have to read between the lines: people don’t stay in that town/city at the weekends because there probably isn’t anything to do there!  So you will need to accept that recreation and fun may need a little bit of travelling and English language teachers usually don’t have the luxury of cars in foreign countries.

10.  How friendly are the people?

This might sound a little direct and maybe even a stupid question but it might be the most important question you ask.  For me and probably for most people, a place is made up of its people.  If you are going to be working somewhere for six months or a year you’ve got to have an idea of the people you’ll be living amongst.

If you have access to a car or a boat or whatever then there might be lots of things to do, but you aren’t going to have a car or boat so you must remember that you’ll likely be far more dependent on invitations from others to join them.  If you are going to be travelling somewhere where the people aren’t so open and friendly then a lot of things which “you” can do won’t really be available to you.

This is a difficult question to get a real answer from but a few questions you might was to ask that are less direct are:

  1. How often do you all (the school staff) meet up for drinks, dinner or a picnic?  (In other words, how sociable is the working environment going to be.)
  2. What bars/restaurants are close to the school that you’d recommend?  What do they serve and how often do you go there?
  3. What clubs/organizations are there for me to join?

If the answers to these questions are not forthcoming, that should be a warning sign that there’s not much to do, or at the very least that your first contacts in this country, your work colleagues, will be unable to help you in this respect.

11.  Take a look on Google Maps and, if available, take a look at Street View.

This is an obvious step to take but here the key is to look at what you are seeing.

12.  How much English can I expect to encounter on the streets?

If you don’t have any of the language (or, like I was, you are a dodgy intermediate) then this is actually a very important question.  Just how isolating is the lack of your native language going to be?  In a lot of countries, the bigger cities are a haven for English-speaking while further out from the conurbations you might find it difficult to meet English speakers.  You don’t want to have to teach every person you encounter when you are living abroad.  Your classes are for teaching English, you then need to have one of the following things:

  1. A similar group of foreign teachers who you can relax with in English.
  2. A group of native friends who are proficient in English and you don’t need to worry about grading your language.
  3. An inexhaustible energy to wear your ‘English teacher’ hat 24/7 making every conversation a mini-English class.
  4. Fluency in the local L1.
  5. A determination to spend every waking moment improving your relevant L2 language skills.
  6. The ability to happily spend your off hours by yourself.

13.  Where can I join language classes?  How often and how much?

This shouldn’t be an optional extra which ‘would be nice’.  See the above interview excerpt from Scott Thornbury to understand what I mean.  I did ask about this before arriving but I accepted a very vague answer which really came to very little.  If you want to learn the language then you should be stubborn about this and get some solid answers.

Are there language classes available at a local college or at the institute I will be working in?  Quite possibly not.  That’s okay, but then you need to ask to be put in contact with someone who will agree to teach you when you arrive.

How many people have they taught before?  What level?  What material do they use?  What qualifications do they have?  Qualifications aren’t a necessity and might be quite difficult to come by, but they can be a useful indicator.

Negotiate a price after you arrive and you have a better idea about the local money but everything else should be as clear as possible before you get on the plane.

And there it is, finishing on 13, unlucky for some.  I hope you see that I’m not warning against travelling or working in other countries – nothing could be further from the truth.  This post is about awareness, mostly my own awareness so that next time I look at a job abroad I’ll refer back to this list and hopefully make more informed decisions.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Recommendations, Reflections

 

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Questions for a potential employer and why you should ask them, pt 1 (The ‘Professional’ Questions)

The first person who should want to read any blog post is the author.  With that in mind, this is probably the best blog post I have ever done because what I have written here was specifically for me.  A way that I could get my thoughts down on paper (well, in Microsoft Word at least) about my professional experiences so far and what I should have learned from them… what I hope I have learned from them.

So what this has ended up becoming is a personal guideline of sorts for me about things to consider and questions to ask before making the final decision to go and teach abroad.  I’ll preface this by saying two things.

  1. I’m a NEST (Native English Speaking Teacher) so I’m writing from that perspective.
  2. This post is not reflective of any one job experience I have had and in some cases I’m drawing on tips and stories I’ve heard from colleagues during their travels.

Now from what you are about to read, my only piece of strong advice here is get solid answers.  You are not stupid if you don’t understand the answer you are given, and if the answer is vague, don’t expect it to be any clearer when you arrive.  If your potential employer can’t explain something clearly to you on the phone or Skype or in an email, they probably won’t be any better at explaining it in person.  Also, if the answer really is that complicated then it probably isn’t the answer you are looking for.

Part 1: The ‘Professional’ Questions

1.  How many different classes will I be teaching?

I asked “How many hours…?” and very quickly I saw my mistake.  I am used to teaching 25 hours a week but there is a big, big, BIG difference between teaching two or three class in those 25 hours and teaching 9 different student groups.

2.  How much homework/How many tests do you expect of your students?

Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but I hate giving homework, especially in large volumes and frequently.  It never gets done by everyone and keeping track of what is given, on what day, for what day, and to which classes becomes a really, really complicated endeavour unless you start off with a very organized plan-of-action.  The more homework is expected, the more work it is for you wearing your hat as the ‘enforcer’ and ‘punisher’ when it doesn’t get done.  If you have 9 different classes (like I did) then it can almost become a full time job in itself and not a very fun one at that.

If you are an organized person or at least have time before you start to get organized and sort out a record system that works for you, then you should be alright.  But please, make sure you know what you are getting into long before you start.

3.  Do you have other foreign teachers?  Have you had?  Why?  Why not?

Culture shock goes both ways.  Has the school dealt with foreigners on staff before?  The question is not whether they want foreign teachers; the question is whether they know how to deal with foreign teachers.

If the answer is no, they’ve never had any foreign teachers, then you will be a culture shock to them.  The school and the staff might have a specific way of doing things that they instinctively understand based on culture – they probably won’t appreciate all the things that need to be explained to an ‘outsider’.  For this reason, an institute’s way of doing things; of interacting, of managing classes, their teaching methodologies, their attitudes towards professional development, just about everything could be very different.  What it is to be an English teacher can mean very different things in different countries.  With regard to professional development, even if your new colleagues are eager to learn from you (as you should be from them), bear in mind that change doesn’t come easily, even if people say they want it.

My warning here is to be aware of the energy needed to meet this day-to-day challenge of potential professional culture shock.

If the school has had foreign teachers, when was that?  Recently, a couple of years ago, several years ago?  The biggest questions here are “How long did they stay?” and “Why did they leave?”  These are obvious questions to ask but, again, listen to the answers, especially for the latter question.  If you get a few too many ‘it didn’t work out’ or ‘he was an alcoholic’ or ‘she was missing a lot of classes’ then all that might be true, but consider the common denominator here.  If the management keeps mentioning the faults of lots of the people that don’t work there any more, that should be a big red flag.

If the school has foreign teachers right now, then you should definitely get their contact details and ask a few of these questions to them.  I tend to believe you’ll get the truth.  If all you get from any of your emails are positive reports, then be cautious though.  Even the best schools have some things that could be better or some necessary evils or what-have-you – nowhere is perfect, but if someone is trying to make a place out to be perfect then be weary.  If you don’t get a reply, email them again (politely, of course) and if that doesn’t bear fruit, get back in contact with the school and tell them.  You might have been given a misspelled email address, it does happen.

3a.  Can I get former teachers’ contact details?

This might just be me, but I have generally stayed in contact with the places I’ve worked that I got along with.  If a school says they don’t have the contact details of any former teachers, you might want to consider that a red flag.  As I said before, you’ve got to go with your instinct here and go with whether something feels right.

4.  Don’t make assumptions regarding the wording of the contact.  Question everything.

This again goes back to the point about cultural differences and culture shock.  A written contract may make unnoticed assumptions based on the local or regional work/business culture.  Also bear in mind that some cultures don’t work with contracts as much as others, so you might be getting a contract that has been written up for the sake of having a contract instead of as a document which clearly defines and delineates your role and responsibility in the organisation as well as that organisation’s responsibility to its employee.

I’ll digress here and say that I think contracts are wonderful things.  Sure, I’ve heard lots of people say “Sorry, not part of my job description.”  However, these comments reveal an attitude that would exist regardless of whether that person had no contract, a 10-word contract or a 100-page contract.  What contracts do is reduce stress related to grey areas of responsibility.  More than that, I’m one of those people who like to go the extra mile and don’t mind doing additional work from time to time.  It’s nice to have recognition for a job well done or going above and beyond the call of duty… but if you don’t have a well-written contract defining your ‘call of duty’ then how can anybody, including yourself, recognize when you went above and beyond it!  A weak contract or no contract is ultimately demotivating.

5.  What age group will I be teaching?

Ability group and age group mean two completely different things for classroom management.

6.  What variety of age groups will I be teaching?

Kids’ covers a wide range of ages and so does ‘adolescents’.  From my recent experience I think you’ve got to get this answer down to a 2-3 year age bracket because the enormous difference between 12-14 and 15-17 almost demands a completely different skill set!

7.  Will I be co-teaching?  If so, is this something that is done often at the school?

I love co-teaching… when it is done well, when the school’s infrastructure is set up to support it, when my co-teachers know how to co-teach, when the strengths of this sharing are understood and exploited by educators to benefit themselves, their colleagues and their students.  However, like everything else, it is a skill that sometimes needs some work and definitely needs support.  This issue of support, in particular, is why it is important to ask about what the current set up at the school is.  “We can try this when you arrive.” might sound good and certainly sends a positive message that management will listen to your suggestions and opinions, but the flip side of that coin is, once again “We haven’t done it before, we don’t have experience and you’ll be the guinea pig.”

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Recommendations, Reflections

 

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Grammar & IELTS Writing (Blog Recommendation)

In the introduction to my PLN interview with Lewis Richards a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Lewis hadn’t started blogging yet.  I was very pleased to see last week that this was no longer the case.  May this be the first of many from him!

Grammar & IELTS Writing by Lewis Richards on the Delta Publishing Blog.  A look at tailoring and improving English grammar for written assignments.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Grammar/Structure, Recommendations

 

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My PLN Interview with Lewis Richards, author of IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills

I’m very pleased to finally accept the challenge laid out many months ago – interview someone in your PLN.  I present to you a guy who isn’t particularly active online… yet.  He doesn’t have a Twitter account and he doesn’t have his own blog… yet.  Hopefully we can change his mind about that soon because I know he’s got a lot of really great ideas to share.

I first met Lewis Richards in 2008 when I started teaching in Portsmouth, England.  With enormous patience, he showed me the ropes with regard to something I was going to have to start teaching soon called Eyelets, or Yelts, or IELTS or something like that. 😉  With another fine colleague of mine, Richard Brown, the two of them set themselves the goal of writing a coursebook.  IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills is the result.

So without further ado, I present a multi-talented Lewis Richards!

The Standard 5 Questions

1.  If your students were to describe you with 3 adjectives, what would they be?

Hopefully, passionate about teaching, fun, hard-working.  But I reckon some would also say strict!

2.  What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Not a lot.  Leftovers.  Rotting vegetables.  It’s lucky you can’t see it, really.  (Gordon – I know this can’t be true because Lewis is actually a very good cook!)

3.  If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?

Hard to say, I’ve been teaching for so long, and enjoy it so much, that I can’t imagine anything else.  But I’ve always enjoyed writing, so maybe journalism.

4.  What do you find most difficult about the teaching profession, or What has been your most difficult class as a teacher?

It might sound cheesy, but I’ve enjoyed every class that I’ve taught.  But I did have a class a few years back in Moscow of total beginners, and a couple of the students couldn’t read or write in Russian, so it was quite tough to teach them English.  We had fun, but I’m not sure we made a great deal of progress.

5.  What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?

At the moment, I’m reading Ian McEwan’s ‘Solar’ – I only started reading his books recently, and I love his style and wit.  The book I re-read the most is Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch 22’, even the hundredth time around it makes me laugh out loud.  A work of genius.

Extra Questions

6.  You’ve just finished writing a book with Richard.  Why did you write it?

Well, both of us have taught IELTS for a long time, about 15 years between us, and we found that although there are lots of good IELTS books on the market, we couldn’t find a single book that made it easy to teach the writing to students.  So we ended up writing our own exercises and material, and over the years accumulated hundreds of our own exercises for the writing part of IELTS.  And it’s worked, our students have always done really well in IELTS, particularly in the writing, so we knew that we were on the right track.

A couple of years ago we thought to ourselves ‘well, why don’t we put all these ideas together into a book’, and so we did.  We hope it will be really useful for students, and help them to get a 6.5 or above in the writing, and also I think the book is great for IELTS teachers – because it contains everything that students need to get a good score, and it’s quite user-friendly, and hopefully easy to teach with.

7.  Who is it for?

We decided to write the book so that students can use it either as a self-study book, because we know that a lot of IELTS candidates just don’t have the time or maybe the money to go to a language school and do an IELTS course.  There are a lot of professional people, like nurses and doctors, who need a high score in IELTS, and have good English, but need help with the writing because it’s quite specialised and technical, but because they are working, they don’t really have time to spend a couple of months in a language school.  I’ve met lots of students who spoke fantastic English, and got a 7.5 or 8 in the speaking part, but couldn’t manage a high score in the writing, because they hadn’t had any training.  Our book will help those people.

Of course, it’s also designed to be used in the class with a teacher – and one of the things we think is really important about the book is that every single exercise in it has been tried out in class many times – so we know that the book works.  The aim in terms of a score, is a minimum of 6.5, hopefully more.  We also drew on our experience as IELTS writing examiners to show students what is required to get these kinds of scores.  One of the things we wanted to put into the book were some real pieces of writing by our students, with our comments and scores, so that students can see what a 7.0 answer, for example, looks like.  We hope that these will be really useful.

8.  Why are neither of you imparting your knowledge through twitter or a blog yet?

Well, just speaking for myself, I’m not very up with the latest technology, I’m more of a paper and pen man, but I know I should drag myself into the 21st century!

9.  What do you like to do to unwind?

I’m really into tennis, I play a few times a week, and find that a really good game gets rid of stress, and keeps me fit.  Beer helps too!

10.  What’s your favourite place in the world?

I think I’d have to say Paris.   Not especially for the landmarks, although it is of course an amazingly beautiful city, but because it was the first place I lived and worked abroad, when I was in my early 20s, and the excitement of learning a language and living in a new culture for the first time is something I’ll never forget.

L'Arc de Triomphe, Paris (Photo from OliverN5 on Flickr)

11.  What do you want to do in the next year and how can I help?

There are several ideas for other books in the pipeline, but it’s a bit early to say exactly what at the moment.  But, probably some more writing, along with teaching, of course.  Feel free to keep talking about our books on your great website!

Final Question

12.  Next time we see each other, whose round is it, what’s everyone having and where will we have it?

Well, I think it’s definitely my round – you’re actually a rare Scot who’s very generous with money, so I’m sure I owe you a few!  Summertime, a nice cold beer, somewhere by the sea sounds perfect!

Looking forward to it! Photo from bovinity on Flickr

Thank you for the interview, Lewis.  I’m sure the book will be a great success and help many students around the world.  Here are the links to the various Amazon sites where the book is available nowIELTS Advantage: Writing Skills on Amazon UKAmazon FranceAmazon GermanyAmazon CanadaAmazon Austria and Amazon Japan.
For more information from Lewis and Richard about the book, watch these videos:

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in IELTS, PLN Interview, Recommendations

 

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Why I suck at storytelling… and what I need to do to fix it! (Reflections on the August 2011 ABS International Conference, pt 2)

If you clicked onto this page then you are probably interested in storytelling.  So am I.  I think stories in some form or another must represent a large majority of our day-to-day communication: what we did last night, what someone told us once, what you learned from your parents, what the boss told you to do 5 minutes ago.  Not all of these are stories of note, but they are stories nonetheless.

For this reason, I think storytelling is an incredibly important skill and one which learners are hungry to have in L2.

Unfortunately, I suck at it.  As it turns out, I simply didn’t know enough.

Pablo Ponce de Leon’s Talk at ABS

I was very grateful to Pablo Ponce de Leon for his seminar on digital storytelling at the ABS International Conference for ELT Managers and Directors of Studies last Saturday in Buenos Aires.  What I particularly loved was that he didn’t cover the hows and whys of digital storytelling (covered very competently in his handout) so much as the hows and whats of storytelling itself.

I’ve told my classes plenty of times, “Now I want you to write/make a story.”  I recently tried this creativity-heavy exercise myself and it’s really not that easy.  So this left me with a problem; I love stories and I believe they should figure prominently in a lot of our language teaching/learning but I have no confidence in myself to produce an even half-decent story.  We shouldn’t really ask of our students what we cannot do or don’t know how to do ourselves, so I was stuck – no storytelling.

Here are a few symptoms of poor storytelling abilities.  You will probably recognize these as reasons that storytelling activities sometimes fall flat in your class:

  • What should we write about, I don’t have any ideas.” (The infamous blank page!)
  • How many words should it be?” (Perhaps my favourite quote of the whole conference, paraphrased here, “Teenage students tend to see the word count like a prison sentence – counting down the words until they are finished.”)
  • I’m stuck.  I don’t know what to write next.
  • A boring and un-engaging story
  • A poorly structured story, with shifting focus and that is difficult to follow
  • A story with an abrupt, unsatisfying end
  • A story with no apparent end
  • A story with no details (something that reads like a police report)

So how do we fix this?

Like everything else new or challenging, the students need support and structure, in other words, scaffolding.  Like a new essay form, the students need to be aware of every paragraph’s structure, every sentence’s purpose.  That means we, as teachers, need to know this too.

If you pay close attention to Pablo’s case study, Toy Story, in the slides (see slides 14-16) you start to get a better idea about the structure of a modern movie plot.  The point being, and it’s a good one, that the three-act structure usually employed in a Hollywood movie is a familiar structure that is easy to relate to.  So from this we have our structure and quite honestly, I think there is a lot of mileage to be had in an English language class from just exploring, discovering, discussing and picking apart a movie’s structure.

To give you an example, I watched a few of my favourite movies (it was a tough job but someone had to do it).  I believe it is customary here to give a Spoiler Alert and say, if you haven’t seen these movies yet and don’t want to know what happens before you see them, don’t read further (or at least, don’t click for the bigger picture).

So how and where should we use this?

The recommendation for this was simple.  Digital storytelling works best as the end of something, a unit or level, as a way to give closure and to produce something creative.  What I also took from a sample video that was shown is that the grammar point doesn’t need to be complicated for digital storytelling projects to be worthwhile.  A slideshow of few pictures with some present simple narration, either text or voice, is a fantastic achievement for a low-level student (a visual family tree, for example).  We were also reminded that “the journey is as important as the destination” and that the process, of course, yields its own language learning opportunities.

A warning we were given was that student projects, if they are young learners, should not be made public, through youTube for example (of course youTube has privacy settings that still make it a viable way to share class videos).  There is a temptation to publicize the great work that our young learners do, but I couldn’t agree more with the speaker here – we have to be very careful what goes out into the public domain.

For a more creative project at higher levels, the following procedure was suggested (see slide 23): submit a story outline, go into preproduction, continue with production, finish off with post-production work and then take pride in your work during its presentation.  We were also given homework, again!  (I’ll learn from this because I haven’t been giving homework in my PD seminars.)  We were told to download Microsoft Photostory 3 and start playing around with it.  I’ve got to apologize to Pablo here and say, no, I haven’t downloaded and tried it out yet – but I’m about to move country so I’ve got a few other things on plate.  BUT, I will because apparently it is very easy to use.
Microsoft actually has a very detailed pdf, Digital Storytelling in the Classroom, that provides links to real examples of students work along with a step-by-step ‘how to’.
Pablo Ponce de Leon’s experience inside and outside of ELT, as a teacher as well as professional screenwriter/producer/director made his talk something really informative which answered a very simple yet difficult question: how to I tell a good story?  Even in Microsoft’s guide, the tendency in the activity plan is to simply say “identify the key elements, and arrange them into a beginning, a middle and an end” or “Collect/sort/decide which ideas to pursue”.  This is simply not enough scaffolding for students or their teachers, but now I will be far more confident to plan out and try not only a digital storytelling project but just a storytelling project with my students.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
You can follow Pablo on Twitter (@storybusiness), on his blog (HUX Consulting) or on his website (The Story Business).
Thanks Pablo!
 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Activities, Conferences, Recommendations, Review

 

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